The London Borough of Haringey in North London covers an area of more than 11 square miles or 28.5 km2, and is famous for being home to the Alexandra Palace and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. There are 19 wards in the borough, with the wooded high ground to the west incorporating Highgate, Muswell Hill and Crouch End which are among the most prosperous wards in the country, yet some wards in the east by the River Lea are classified as being among the most deprived. For a small area, it is surprising that hundreds of different languages and dialects are spoken here.
Haringey has excellent transport connections to central London, to Stansted airport, and to Cambridge, a centre of excellence with a booming science and technology economy. After some difficult times the boroughs schools are improving, the housing is relatively affordable and there is much to appreciate in the area.
Haringey is rated as a good place to live. Visitors and locals love the libertarian nature of the area. Locals have said they feel a strong sense of community where everyone cares about each other. After the Tottenham riots in 2011, much work has been done by voluntary and community groups in the borough and this work continues to ensure everyone in the community has a voice.
This means that Haringey has been getting organised and giving the area the attention it has lacked, setting a model for regeneration for the next generation: of the people, by the people, for the people. By 2025 it is planned the Tottenham ward will have more than 10,000 new high-quality homes and 5,000 new jobs, with almost a million square feet of employment and commercial space added. Haringey council wants Tottenham to be London’s next big growth opportunity. To date, public spaces have been improved, housing is being built and a traffic gyratory system has been reorganised.
Funding for the regeneration of Haringey has come from both local and national government. The local council offers funding to community and voluntary sector groups in their work. This includes connecting with citizens that the council may find hard to reach. This is empowering to the volunteers in Haringey, who report increased self-confidence and pride in their neighbourhoods.
Urban exploring takes you to railway platforms that were once Crouch End station. On the border with Islington is the spooky 'Spriggan' sculpture that prompted Stephen King to write his horror story 'Crouch End'. The tunnels underneath the Broadwater Farm blocks, and the network of brass-gated alleys running through the 1930s Coldfall Estate are also fascinating.
Haringey has two great pubs. The Salisbury, in St Ann's ward has been a location for several cult films, including The Long Good Friday starring Bob Hoskins. The Queens in Crouch End is a suburban palace with good beers. You can eat well in Haringey too. Arocaria in Crouch End is a Cypriot Greek restaurant where the food is authentic, generous, delicious and good value. There are restaurants for every palette.
Haringey shopping is dominated by the Wood Green mall, though there are several bustling Turkish and Kurdish emporia on Green Lanes which is busy and friendly night and day. It is not just food that is available here. There are also great places for wet shaves, eyebrow threading and having your nails done.
The vast Tower at Bruce Castle is dated to the early sixteenth century and older than the Castle's current exterior, though no one yet knows what it was built for. There’s also Bruce Castle itself, the Pump and High Cross on the high street, the almshouses on Bruce Grove, and the mediaeval All Saints church.
For a full panorama of London, the best view is from Alexandra Palace. Alternatively, Hornsey Lane as it passes over the A1 has a view that merges Highgate suburbia, the gritty, commercial lower world of Archway Road, and the gleaming towers of the City in the far distance.